And I’m not talking about the fact that women spend more money than men.
Surprise, surprise, Tess read another ‘feminism in the workplace’ book. After reading Knowing Your Value, Lean In, and Notorious RGB, I set out to find more books about strong women in the workplace. Womenomics by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay was suggested so I gave it a try. [If you have any other suggestions, please leave them below.]
Here is the Amazon summary:
Womenomics, the groundbreaking New York Times bestseller by Claire Shipman and Katty Kay, is an invaluable guide for this generation of professional women, provide knowledgeable advice on how to “Work Less, Achieve More, Live Better.” Shipman and Kay, two TV journalists well acquainted with the stress of the workplace, describe the new economic trends that offer today’s overworked working women more professional and personal choices than ever before. At last, you no longer have to do it all to have it all—Womenomics shows you how.
With their motto of “Work Less, Achieve More, Live Better,” Shipman and Kay want to empower women to find a schedule that suits both their professional and personal lives. To do this, Shipman and Kay recommend taking advantage of two things: being a woman and the state of the economy. Ah, Womenomics, it all clicks now.
You want to be home for dinner with your spouse, make it to Saturday soccer games for your daughter, and learn how to play piano. Oh, and work a 40-hour week while trying to get that promotion. Sounds impossible, but Shipman and Kay argue that the answer lies in a more flexible schedule.
Let me address the economy part first. This book was published in 2008, at the heart of the U.S. recession. The major philosophy of this book is that now (2008) is a better time than ever to get a more flexible schedule and, in effect, have the ability to work less.
Once you have an idea of a schedule that works for your personal needs, present it to your boss in a clear and organized fashion. Are you asking to work from home one day a week? Will coming in early solve your company’s problem with communications with Europe and allow you to pick your son up from school? Will working 40-hours a week in four days instead of five allow you to earn your MBA without impacting your company? The key here is to convince your boss to grant your request to spend less time in the office by using logical reasoning that focuses on two things: your gender and the economy.
During economic downturns, this advice is very practical. When companies are preparing to make layoffs, offering to work part-time would make for a win-win situation. If a company does not have the money to rent a larger office space but needs to expand, asking to work from home would be a great solution as it would free up your office for someone else. The goal here is to get what you want (less time in the office) by using the weak economy as your hook. Shipman and Kay argue that this is a fool-proof way to go because it is a smart business decision for a company to make in hard economic times. And I think they are right.
Here is the problem: this book was published eight years ago and now the economy is in much better shape. This economic upturn is great for the world, but bad for women depending on the advice of Shipman and Kay.
But there is still hope: we still have our gender to support our request to be out of the office more. Here are some facts that Shipman and Kay present that demonstrate our value as women.
- Companies that employ more women make more money.
- Your perspective and management style are hot.
- We do most of the buying so they now know they need us to do the selling. Women also enjoy purchasing from other women. So having a female CMO and female sales representative will serve your company well.
- Women account for more than half of the educated work force.
- It is expensive to lose experienced, professional women, so businesses will compromise.
Based on this information, Shipman and Kay believe that companies will do what is necessary to keep women happy, even if it means letting them work less or from home.
Whether you use the economy, your gender, or both to convince your boss to loosen the reins, the only way you are going to keep your new schedule is through results.
Shipman and Kay talked extensively about ROWE – Results Only Work Environments. Companies like Best Buy, Gap, and even law firms have adopted ROWE. With ROWE, there is a corporate policy that employees can work when and where they want as long as results don’t slip. Interestingly, companies that have implemented it found that employees typically still work in office during normal business hours. But with ROWE, you don’t have to have a half-day off approved in advice for a child’s play and taking a long lunch for a dental appointment is no biggie.
[Interesting side note: Since the publication of Womenomics, ROWE has been struck down at Best Buy.]
So now that you know how to argue for a more flexible schedule (economics and gender) and what you’ll need to do to maintain it (get results), you will finally get to have ‘the new all,’ a term used by Shipman and Kay throughout their book. In this place, there is no longer the compromise of being a great mom or having a great career. With the new all, you can do both.
Overall, Womenomics offers sound advice about finding work-life balance. Whether it is setting technology limits after work hours (you all know I am a firm believer of ‘unplugging’), searching for other compensation sources (like vacation time), or making lists based on priority rather than ease, you are on your way to becoming a more productive and rejuvenated employee. But because this book is out-dated and economically semi-irrelevant, I do not believe it is worth the purchase unless you are looking specifically for advice on how to negotiate more out-of-office time.
I hope you enjoyed this book review!
What is one tip you have for finding work-life balance? Let us know below.